Published: Fri, June 02, 2017
Sport | By Charlene Craig

Kiwis win thriller on Swede penalty in America's Cup trials

Kiwis win thriller on Swede penalty in America's Cup trials

Underdogs Groupama Team France won their first race of the America's Cup in Bermuda on Sunday, while defender Oracle Team USA tasted defeat for the first time in the contest.

For a second consecutive race on Sunday, ORACLE TEAM USA trailed off the starting line, this time following Artemis Racing around the first mark and through the first downwind gate.

Second-placed Emirates Team New Zealand are well-placed after beating Sweden in a dramatic second race on Monday while France went on to lose to Japan in race three to throw the battle wide open.

Sunday's results leave Britain second in the standings, level on three points with third-placed New Zealand and two points behind the United States of America team.

The British outfit led by Ben Ainslie - racing after frantic overnight repairs to their catamaran damaged in a cash with Team Japan on Saturday - only remained abreast of New Zealand in the standings thanks to the two bonus points they brought in from the America's Cup World Series.

Having suffered a somewhat shock defeat to Groupama Team France in the first race of the day, the Swedish team enjoyed a flying start and maintained a healthy lead for the first three gates.

"Clearly we're not fast enough upwind in certain conditions and we've got to improve that", Ainslie said. They then came out and got past Sweden's Artemis Racing in a thrilling start to the second ay with a 3s win. "It's just a shame we couldn't repay that work with some wins today", he said.

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The variable winds over the Great Sound racecourse came to the fore in race 10, as Artemis Racing prevailed in a topsy-turvy battle against ORACLE TEAM USA.

Oracle recovered from a bad start against Land Rover BAR and passed the Brits about halfway through the race.

A year earlier he was disqualified at the World Championships, jumping off his boat and swimming to remonstrate with a watching craft he claimed got too close.

Kiwi skipper Peter Burling unsurprisingly praised the decision.

Emirates Team New Zealand beat Japan by 33 seconds and Britain by 1:28.

"We had a tough day out there today", conceded SoftBank Team Japan helmsman Dean Barker.

In a statement, Richard Slater, the chief umpire for the independent America's Cup Race Management, said officials "have had a discussion, we have looked at other evidence, information and data, and I think if we were to go back in time and make that call, we would green that call and not penalize Artemis".

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